Culford School


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  • Category: Nursery / Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Methodist
  • Roll: 400 (Boys) 327 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 1 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1881

General Information

Culford has clear values. We want our pupils to achieve their full potential, whatever their talents, and believe that providing an education which is challenging, enriching and fun will deliver well-rounded, fulfilled, future leaders with excellent academic results. Culford is blessed with a unique setting and superb facilities, enjoying 480 acres of stunning Suffolk parkland where pupils can learn, feel secure, explore and enjoy all that is on offer. Culford also has a vibrant boarding community and a recent ISI inspection rated Boarding and Pastoral Care as excellent. Day pupils fold easily into the community with daily bus routes and the options of part and occasional boarding or an extended day.


In 2015 Culford opened a new £2.2million library at the academic heart of the school with 10,000 books, a lecture theatre, wifi throughout and a mezzanine space with a coffee bar for exclusive use by the Sixth Form. Culford also enjoys outstanding performing arts facilities with a professional Studio Theatre and a recording studio. There is a new gallery space for the art department and fully refurbished music school.

The Sports and Tennis Centre boasts a four court Indoor Tennis Centre, 25m swimming pool, squash courts, fitness suite and sports hall with a climbing wall. There are also outdoor tennis courts and 2 astro-turf pitches, one being built in partnership with Bury St Edmunds Hockey Club in 2016.

Extra-curricular activities are wide ranging and include scuba diving, climbing, horse-riding and outdoor pursuits such as the CCF, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and many adventure activities.

Entrance Requirements

Pre-Prep: Informal assessment. Prep & Senior School: Entrance examination and interview. For a copy of our prospectus, to arrange a visit or to book a place at an Open Morning, please call the Admissions Office on 01284 385308


Jubilee (All-Round), Academic, Art, Technology, Drama, Music, Rugby, Sport, Hockey, Swimming, Tennis, Golf and Cricket scholarships and exhibition awards are available. Awards are worth up to 25% fee remission.

Open Days

2019. To book a place at one of our Open Events, or to arrange an individual visit, please contact our Admissions Team on 01284 385308 or email them on for more information.


2019/2020. Nursery: please contact the school for details.

Pre-Prep (Reception - Year 2): £3,065 - £3,305 per term. Prep (Years 3-8): Day - £3,985 – £5,225 per term. Full Boarding - £7,720 - £8,295 per term.

Senior School (Years 9-13): Day £6,665 per term, Boarding £10,395 per term, International Boarding £11,100 per term.

Occasional boarding: £60 per night. For prep international boarding fees and part boarding and extended day provisions, please contact the school for more details.


ISI Compliance Inspection 2017
ISI Inspection 2015
ISI Boarding Inspection 2012

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr J F Johnson-Munday

Contact for enquiries: Mrs K M Tompkinson, Registrar

Culford School
IP28 6TX

[t]: 01284 385308
[f]: 01284 385513

Location Description

Set in 480 acres of beautiful and tranquil landscaped parkland.

To send an email to the school please fill in your details below and add a short message. If you are requesting a prospectus to be sent to you please include your postal address.

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School News

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

We are pleased to announce that we have officially opened our new Art Centre. In the space of only one academic year the arts

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facilities at Culford have been revolutionised with the completion of the new studio. Now at the heart of the Art Centre there is a glass-fronted, modern, dynamic space that can be used for lessons, exhibitions and events. 

For the official opening we were joined by Art Critic Charles Darwent who we were honoured to have cut the ribbon and launch what will be decades of learning and creativity in a vibrant and versatile space specially created for children’s artistic practice. 

During his speech, Charles commented: “At a time when funding for the arts in schools is increasingly under attack, it is particularly pleasing to see the opening of Culford’s new Art Centre. Last year, the creative industries contributed £11 billion to UK GDP – more than agriculture and fisheries combined. What students will learn in the new art centre is not just engraving or ceramics or fabric design, but, more broadly, to look and to see. Those are skills that will follow them all their lives, whether they become artists or doctors or engineers.” 

An open afternoon for parents, pupils and staff provided an excellent opportunity for everyone to see not only the amazing new space but also the creative work of some of our very talented past and present pupils.

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Former pupil Hadley Butler, who recently completed his A-Levels this summer, got the chance to work with the production crew at Culford School on

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the recent Suzuki advert featuring Take That.

Hadley, who has a passion for photography and film-making, was given this amazing opportunity during the May half-term when the grounds of Culford School were turned into a fun fair for the shoot. Take That surprised members of the public and drove them in a set of cars around the grounds, before playing fairground games with them.

Hadley comments: “It was very overwhelming to begin with, I have always worked as a one-man filmmaker on lots of projects from music videos to short films – so when I arrived and found out that there were more than 100 people working just for a 30 second commercial I was amazed. After the shoot was complete, I had lots of photos and videos on my phone, so the hardest part has been being careful when showing friends or family anything in my photo library without them seeing Take That.” 

Keep your eyes peeled on ITV for the adverts and promotional clips in the coming months. View the first advert here:

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Pupils at Culford School achieved an excellent set of A Level results. 53% of all grades were at A*- B level and 79% were A*-

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C. The overall pass rates were as follows:

26%     A* and A grades

53%     A* to B grades

79%     A* to C grades

93%     A* to D grades

99%     A* to E grades

Headmaster, Julian Johnson-Munday said, “We are delighted with this year’s excellent grades, and very proud of the performance of pupils in terms of value added. Individual results were particularly pleasing, and indicate just how focused and hard-working our pupils and teachers are when preparing for these important examinations”.

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Following a farewell BBQ in the Headmaster’s garden and final preparations last week, Culford Senior School pupils and four teachers set off for Malawi at the

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weekend. They will be helping with a number of wide ranging projects from eco stove building and tree planting through to building dormitories, distributing clothes and seeing the library we have helped with at Nankhufi School.

You can follow their progress here:

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Culford School celebrated another excellent set of GCSE results this year, with 47% of all grades at A* or A or 9 to 7

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levels. The overall pass rates were as follows:

47% A* – A or 9 – 7 grades

68% A* – B or 9 – 6 grades

93% A* – C or 9 – 4 grades

Culford’s Headmaster, Mr Julian Johnson-Munday said:  “These results are excellent, particularly the value added across the range of abilities. We are also delighted with the high number of top grade levels achieved by many of our pupils.”

71 pupils sat GCSEs at Culford in 2018.


Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Pupils at Culford School achieved an excellent set of A Level results. 45% of all grades were at A*- B level and 71% were A*-

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C. The overall pass rates were as follows:

22%     A* and A grades

45%     A* to B grades

71%     A* to C grades

89%     A* to D grades

99%     A* to E grades

Headmaster, Julian Johnson-Munday said, “We are very pleased with this set of excellent grades, particularly the high number of very good individual results. We are also very proud of the value added, as Pupils and teachers work very hard indeed when preparing for the examinations”.



Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Our riders have been incredibly busy during September. Here are some key highlights from their first few weeks back at Culford.

Libby Hart has qualified for the Nettex

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British Native Pony Associated Championships taking place on the 15th-18th November at Vale View Equestrian Centre in Leicestershire.  She will be competing at Elementary level and is hoping for a top 10 placing.

Connie Fitton and her pony Bryn took part in a team jumping competition on Sunday 16 September, doing the 50cm. They went double clear in the time, which got them a rosette and team 6th. Leah Fitton and her pony Harry took part in the 90cm and had a pole in the first round and a clear in the second, but due to a team member pulling out, they weren’t placed.  Both the girls rode brilliantly and the ponies had a lovely sunny day out.

Sally Hancock had a super day at Burnham Market BE100 open on Sunday 9 September. She had a good Dressage of 35 and a super double clear to come 12th. Well done Sally!

Frankie Sanderson competed in the show jumping at the Jays on Sunday 9 September. She placed 4th in the 90cm class and 5th in 1m classes. Well done Frankie! She also competed last week at Burghley Horse Trails in the show jumping competition, going clear in 105cm

Standing National Champion, Leah Fitton, spent the weekend at Keysoe taking part in the regional grassroots Land Rover championship for her pony club Suffolk Hunt.  Leah had qualified in dressage, showjumping and eventing so had a full weekend of competing.  She and Harry did a solid dressage test to come 16th out of 40 in her arena. In showjumping their team was one of only four out of 28 to go double clear, placing them third overall.  In eventing, their team came just outside the placings.

Photo: Libby Hart

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Nine senior school pupils formed the winning team at a Senior Cadet Shooting competition over the weekend.

If there was an FA cup for Cadet Shooting,

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this was it.  17 teams competed with 150 pupils across five local counties from schools including Woodbridge and Bedford. ACFs also took part in a series of challenging and exciting competitions.  Three matches over two days plus a falling plate, which included target shooting challenges, and clay pigeon shooting.

The team chosen to represent Culford was selected from the Army & RAF sections. The group had been previously picked from the shooting competition, which took place during the week-long summer camp over the summer. The best 12 shots were narrowed down to the best nine shots during a range morning before the start of term.

The Culford team’s tenacity and “grace under pressure” both contributed to their excellent performance as the first place winners in the Section Attack Match, the most difficult of all matches.

Competition runners up:

The team placed Second in the Montgomery of Alamein Shoot.

Special mention goes to Will Hillsum who won the Pool Bull (a grouping shoot) by firing 17mm on 100metre range.

Culford pupils achieved two out of the top three best scores for individual points:

3rd        (258 points) Rohan Salisbury

2nd       (260 points) Will Hillsum

1st        (262 points) Pupil from Bedford Modern

Special thanks to the Officers who trained and encouraged the team throughout:

Captain Sarah Schofield
2Lt Tom Atkinson
CSgt Ian Roach

Matthew Beardmore – L5
Lucas Doff – U5
Guy Hall – L5
Will Hillsum  -L6
Holly Reynolds –L5
Rohan Salisbury –L6
Fergus Schofield –U6
William Simmonds –L5
Ben Wright –U5

Culford independent day and boarding school Suffolk

Culford School’s Library has been shortlisted for the International SLA Inspiration Award 2017. The award is given to the School library space that shows inspiration,

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innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in its library design and in use.

This year, a record number of applications were received for the award. After much discussion, the judges were able to whittle down the competition to three primary schools and five secondary schools. Schools shortlisted for the award alongside Culford include  American School or Madrid, Headington School in Oxford and Adderley Primary in Birmingham.

Culford’s new library build started in September 2014 and opened just one year later in September 2015. The building includes a social learning foyer, tea and coffee facilities, an 80-seat lecture theatre and a galleried mezzanine area, reserved for Sixth Formers. Headmaster Julian Johnson-Munday said, “The stunning building offers an inviting, light and open space for our pupils to go and study and a place where they can fulfil their potential as independent learners. We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award.”

Every pupil in Senior School has at least one lesson a week in the library, with many Sixth Formers coming several times a week for Private Study. In the Summer Term, the library remains open in the evenings for Sixth Form boarders which proved really popular, with 40 or more each evening making use of the opportunity to revise in such ideal surroundings.

The new library foyer lends itself to events including a poetry open mic to celebrate National Poetry Day in October, and Christmas readings around our beautiful tree in December. The Watson Lecture Theatre has also proved its worth, being used as study rooms during the exam season and for seminars, Scholars’ Lectures and meetings.

The award celebration will take place on Monday 2 October where the winners will be announced.

Culford School’s Year 10 Boys’ team were crowned National Tennis Champions on Sunday 6 December after a fantastic performance which saw them defeat Merchiston Castle

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School, Lancaster School and Claires Court School.

This victory means that Culford ends the year ranked by the LTA as one of the top 3 schools nationwide for boys tennis and as one of the top 5 for girls.

The AEGON Team Tennis Schools competition involves 600 teams from across Great Britain. The boys’ success means that this is the most prestigious National tennis title ever won by Culford. The road to the Finals started in June with victory in the County Schools Championships and then after Regional knock-out matches the team won the South-East Regional Championships to qualify for the National Finals in Bolton.

David Hall, Director of Tennis, said, “It has been an incredible journey and I am so pleased for the team of Oscar Cutting, Karim Najia, Charlie James, Ed Pomeroy and Clemens Rathmanner. The Culford players were magnificent all weekend.”

Culford Tennis Scholars Oscar and Ed are from Suffolk, Charlie is from Cambridgeshire, Karim comes from London and Clemens is from Germany. All the boys are 15 years old.

The Year 10 Girls’ team also played extremely well, losing a very close final match to Millfield School and finishing in second place. The girls’ team members were Kira Reuter, Abby Taylor, Millie-Mae Matthews, Carolin Minners and Nerea Arraras.


Superb Tennis Programme at Culford

Culford School has excellent sporting facilities, with a superb Sports and Tennis Centre and much feted championship-standard four court Indoor Tennis Centre. Pupils have the support of elite coaches and a first-rate tailored tennis programme, alongside a first class education which ISI recently rated as ‘excellent’ at the Senior School.

During November 2015, Culford School pupils held their annual Charity Restaurant. Enjoying a wonderful meal in the beautiful surroundings of Culford Hall has become a

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seasonal tradition at the school. The students served 90 guests in all and raised £1,250.

The net profit will go entirely to the Kailash Bodhi School in Northern India. Culford have supported this school since an expedition party from the school visited the Himalayas in 1998, and saw the difficult conditions in which children were brought up and educated. In previous years, Culford has given considerable donations towards the KBS campaign for a school minibus and the pupils hope that the money raised by the restaurant will go some way towards helping the school again.

Justin Veitch, Maths teacher and organiser of the Charity Restaurant said, “I would like to say thank you to our chef Victor, the catering team and to the pupils who did a fabulous job”.

The pupils served guests in the restaurant and visitors were treated to a delicious menu including Chicken Supreme and Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce. Afterwards mince pies were served with hot drinks in the Workman Library.

Culford drama department’s latest production of Jean-Claude Grumberg’s L’Atelier was a sell-out success, displaying the student’s knack for naturalistic performance with excellent comic timing. It

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was performed for three nights in the school’s stunning state-of-the-art Studio Theatre to an audience of over 100 each night.

This was an engrossing evening of theatre where the young performers displayed a mature and sympathetic understanding of the diverse characters struggling to live day to day in post-war France and coming to terms with emerging and often unpalatable truths.

An impressive and atmospheric set displayed outstanding attention to detail: from the spools of thread, sewing baskets, fabrics and fashions through to the vintage labelled wine bottles and original hand turned sewing machines.

Director of Drama, Maria Jackson said “This was a challenging yet subtle piece for our students to perform. I was impressed with their ability to reflect the sensitivities of the play – the characters were compelling and their enjoyment of the performances shone through”.

The players held a collection for a Paris-based charity which provides practical and emotional support to individuals in times of crisis at the end of each performance. The school’s next production will be a musical which will take place in March 2016; for more information please email

More than 50 pupils from Culford Prep, South Lee, Barnardiston Hall, Moreton Hall and Town Close schools gathered together at Culford for a day of

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music at the school’s Strings Festival, hosted by celebrated violinist Steve Bingham.

The day started in spectacular style, with Steve’s fast paced demonstration on his electric violin and the effects he could achieve with his music software. He then took up his acoustic violin with another fantastic performance based on the hit ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ by 80s rock band Yes, showing that both the electric and acoustic types of violin could, in the right hands, handle modern music genres as well as old.

The rest of the day consisted of full orchestra practices mentored and conducted by Steve, and sectionals where pupils would split into particular instrumental groups to prepare for the ensemble concert at the end of the day.

Parents were invited to see the culmination of a full day’s music practice at the tea-time concert, where the children came together as an orchestra playing a Cha Cha & Tango, Clowns, The Pirates of the Aegean and an improvised piece led by Steve where he played a phrase that the young musicians had to play back as an echo.

Director of Music at Culford, Peter Burge, who organised the Festival, commented, “This has been another fantastic day of wonderful music making led by the inspirational Steve Bingham. All the pupils performed brilliantly throughout the day, presenting a very polished performance in the final concert. Everyone was won over by Steve’s superb electric violin demonstration where he played an impressive range of music from Telemann to Cold Play.”

The Campaign for Culford fundraising project reached another milestone on Tuesday 8 September when the new £2.2 million landmark Library building was officially opened at

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Culford School.

Almost exactly a year from the day that construction began pupils, alumni, teachers and staff gathered outside the completed building to watch Old Culfordian and generous benefactor to the project, Professor Harry Watson, cut the ribbon and declare the library officially open. Other special guests included: the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston; Patrick Cheung, Mayor of Bury St Edmunds; and the Reverend David Deeks, Chairman of the Methodist Independent Schools Trust. Professor Watson, who lived in Barrow as a boy, travelled all the way from Australia with his wife Adrienne to attend the event.

Headmaster Julian Johnson-Munday was keen to promote the Library as more than just a storage space for literature. He stressed that, “This stunning new building offers an inviting, light and open space for our pupils to go and study and a place where they can fulfil their potential as independent learners.”

He praised the hard work of the Foundation team for overseeing the project, but also recognised the dedication shown by the alumni and friends of the school who had contributed the funds that made the venture possible.

Built by Suffolk-based Seamans Builders and with bookcases designed and built by local specialist joinery company TMJ Interiors, the new Library houses ten thousand books and an 80-seat lecture theatre for guest speakers and author visits. There is also a mezzanine floor exclusively for use by Sixth Formers with coffee facilities, quiet study areas, group discussion areas and comprehensive IT facilities and wi-fi.

The Campaign for Culford was launched by the Foundation at Culford School in June 2013 to raise the necessary capital to build and improve facilities within the school. It has already allowed for the creation of a second girls’ boarding House, a £500,000 refurbishment of the kitchens and the opening of the Foundation art gallery. However, the Library project is the biggest challenge undertaken in the campaign so far.

Culford School’s charitable links with Malawi were renewed this summer as 20 Culford Sixth Formers gave their time to help improve schools, orphanages and day

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centres in the country. Working with charities such as the Char Char Trust, who promote literacy for life in Africa, and the Good News Orphanage, Culford’s pupils built toilets, taught in primary schools and gave radio interviews on the importance of literacy.

The team gave away 350 new books, funded through their own efforts, while in Malawi. Lesley Martin, Head Librarian at Culford, who was on this year’s trip, was particularly gratified by this emphasis on literacy, commenting “For me personally the focus on reading and libraries was very special as well as seeing how eagerly the children responded to the books we brought. It is always rewarding to see how our own pupils throw themselves wholeheartedly into everything – they worked really hard and seemed to love every minute.”

Blood reserves are also critically short in Malawi, and twelve of the team gave blood while in the city of Blantyre, adding 15 life-saving pints between them. The pupils taught in four Blantyre primary schools, and visited Nankhufi School where Culford volunteers have built classrooms during previous trips.

Providing extra learning space has always been a key objective of Culford’s Malawi work. One of the schools they visited had over 6,000 pupils yet only 34 classrooms, giving average class sizes of around 176.  The Culford-backed building programme is helping to dramatically reduce this figure.

The group were delighted to see Culford pupils from previous trips on the wall of fame inside the clinic, which is designed to encourage people to donate.

The pupils and teachers have returned from Malawi and will be supporting those participating in the 2015 trip during the next academic year. Culford’s annual Malawi trip is just one of the fulfilling and rewarding experiences that make up Culford’s Sixth Form Enrichment Programme, and proof that an education at Culford is indeed challenging, enriching and fun.


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